Saturday, September 30, 2017

Geezer X - Day 2: A Day of Relaxation

September 18

As usual, everyone is responsible for their own breakfast and wandered in at various times, and by 9:00 we were all up.  Nothing was planned for the day so the morning was spent getting things organized, working on the puzzle and general catching up.  This area was the area where Billy the Kid spent his last years and was actually killed by Pat Garrett near here.  Because of that, we have made Billy the Kid the theme of this year’s gathering so Val had downloaded a copy of the only authentic picture of Billy and had a puzzle made from it, so that’s the puzzle that’s being worked on.

John and Jack work on the puzzle.
This is the front of the house. With all of the trees you really can't see much of the house in this photo.
This is the view from the deck.
A view of the house from below.
Every year Val puts together a gift bag for everyone, which includes a t-shirt that she designs, and some things that reflect the year’s theme.  We usually also include some things we pick up on our travels so this year there were things from Hawaii.  She also had candy bars commemorating this 10th anniversary Geezer Gathering and in keeping with the theme, old west masks and bandanas.

Val gave us each a commemorative candy bar.
There's a new sheriff in town.  That's Jack wearing his mask and modeling the 10th anniversary t-shirt.  The picture of Billy the Kid on the front is the same picture used on the puzzle.
Staying in character, Jack, John, Val and Steph work on the puzzle.
It was time to eat and we all made sandwiches from the assortment of meats, cheeses and breads and that John and Greg supply every year.  There is also an ample supply of snacks so none of us go hungry.

I shouldn't even show this, but this is our snack table.
After a great lunch Jack and I decided to go for a walk, which turned out to be a bit of a challenge.  The house is up in the mountains so there is no flat land to hike on so we decided to follow the roads in the area and do a little exploring.  We had an enjoyable walk and found a nice loop, but we started downhill and the walk back was mostly uphill with some of it being very steep.  This might not be too bad, but we are at a 7,000 feet altitude here so we were huffing and puffing  and exhausted by the time we got back.  We did enjoy our walk, but we certainly paid the price on the way back.

The rest of the afternoon was spent not doing much but talking and munching on the plentiful snacks that everyone provided.  Jack and Steph had friends in Albuquerque who were driving down to meet them for dinner so Val, John and I were on our own for dinner.  We ended up being lazy and just kind of eating out of the refrigerator.

Jack and Steph returned around 9:00 and we decided to finish the evening with a soak in the hot tub.  We spent an hour or so watching the stars and chatting before we all decided to call it a night.  With the exception of John, who is used to the high altitude, no one has been sleeping very well so we have been going to bed relatively early.

Geezer X - Day 1: Arrival

Ruidoso, September 17

We were again on the road by 9:00 AM, continuing east on I-40.  As we neared Albuquerque we turned off the interstate and headed south through some pretty desolate country.  Even though it was a Sunday, there was road construction going on, which caused some lengthy delays.  Several long sections of road were completely torn up and traffic was reduced to one lane with traffic control.  Luckily there wasn’t that much traffic, but it still slowed us up.  We eventually hit Interstate 25 and continued south.  Since we were running late, we decided to forgo lunch and just picked up some snacks when we got gas – so much for healthy eating.

We eventually exited I-25 and started climbing in altitude on two lane roads until we finally reached Ruidoso around 2:00 PM.  After spending much of the day driving through the high desert area, it was a welcome change to reach the forested area around Ruidoso.

Ruidoso is a small resort town that sits at an altitude of almost 7,000 feet in the Sierra Blanca Mountains.  The population is just over 8,000, but has been growing in recent years.  It is very near the Mescalero Apache Tribe-owned ski resort named Ski Apache, which sits on Sierra Blanca, a 12,000 mountain.

We checked in at the rental agency, got our keys, and after stopping for groceries, headed for the house. It was a short drive up to the house and it turned out to be in a great location.  It’s part of a development, but the houses are spaced well apart and the trees make the other homes barely visible on the decks and outside area.  The house was very nice with four bedrooms and four and a half baths.  There are several decks, a hot tub and great views of the mountains.

Val and I unloaded the car and since she was responsible for dinner tonight, she started getting dinner underway.  About the time we got things put away, Jack and Steph pulled up and I helped them unload their car.  Shortly after that, John pulled up and the whole group was here except for Greg who has a meeting on Tuesday and will be joining us on Wednesday.

After chatting for a while, Val put the finishing touches on dinner and we sat down to eat.  Val had prepared a tortilla soup which was very good and we all had seconds and some of us even had thirds.  She had also made a sort of brownie like cake, or a maybe it’s a cake like brownie, but it was also very, very good.  After dinner, the usual jigsaw puzzle was started and while some worked on the puzzle we sat around and talked.  Everyone was tired so we called it an early evening and everyone was in bed by 10:00.  Geezer X was finally underway.

Geezer X - The Road to Ruidoso

September 11

I could probably copy and paste this section from previous blog posts I’ve written as we usually start our trips the same way when we head towards the Southwest, and that is to spend our first night in Tehachapi.  We had intended on leaving right after lunch, but were delayed for an hour after I found a leaky irrigation valve that had to be repaired, not an auspicious start.  Besides getting a jump on our trip, the big attraction for us in Tehachapi is the Redhouse BBQ.

It was an easy drive and except for some surprise showers, it was uneventful.  Our dinner at the Red House was great as usual and I thought the ribs were particularly good tonight.

Las Vegas, September 12 - 15

Our next stop was Las Vegas where we would spend four days before heading on to Ruidoso.  We left Tehachapi just after 9:00 AM and with very little traffic made good time to Las Vegas and were in our room and unpacking by 1:00 PM.

This Las Vegas visit ended up being mostly about gambling as we didn’t see any shows or eat any of our meals at a nicer restaurant.  I’m not going to bother with much detail as we did most of the things we usually do.  As always, we did have a great time, although Val had a better time than I did as she did very well gambling.  She didn’t come out ahead, but she left with almost all her gambling money intact, which we count as a win.  On the other hand, I didn’t lose all my money, but I certainly didn’t leave with much.  Still, as I said, it’s always fun to visit Las Vegas.

Val's big win, 119,310 pennies.
Gallup, September 16

From Las Vegas, it's a two day drive to Ruidoso and our overnight stop tonight was Gallup, New Mexico.  We actually got to bed early on our last night in Las Vegas so we were on the road by 9:00 AM.  It's close to a 500 mile drive from Las Vegas so it was a long drive.

The drive was mostly by Interstate 40, but a little tedious because of heavy truck traffic and a lot of road work.  We also lost an hour as we crossed into Mountain Time and didn’t arrive in Gallup until after 6:00 PM.  We didn’t feel like going out to a restaurant to we stopped at a nearby grocery store and got a vegetable plate and a couple melon plates.  After what we ate in Las Vegas, it felt good to have some healthy food.  We went to bed early as we were anxious to get back on the road and see our friends tomorrow.

Geezer X - Introduction

It's once again time for our annual "Geezer Gathering".  As our long time followers know, every year we rent a house and get together with our oldest and dearest friends, John and Greg, and Jack and Steph.  This tradition started ten years ago when John, Jack, Val and I all turned 60 and decided we should get together and celebrate entering "geezerdom".  It has since turned into an annual event and this year is the 10th anniversary.  For the background on this and the origin of our friendships here is a link to my first post on this event.

This year we will be renting a house in Ruidoso, New Mexico.  Ruidoso is located in south central New Mexico adjacent to the Lincoln National Forest in the Santa Blanca Mountain Range.  Besides being a ski and recreation area, the only other claim to fame we could find was that the area was once the home of Billy the Kid, the notorious outlaw, and the site of the infamous Lincoln County War.

Except for a short train trip to to Reno for Val's birthday, we haven't traveled since our April trip to Hawaii so we are ready to get going.  Besides spending a week in Ruidoso we are also going to stop in Las Vegas for a few day; we can't travel through Nevada with stopping for a little gambling. :-)  Since I have given up trying to keep up with the blog as we travel, we probably will already be home by the time you read this.

That's it for now, time to load up the 4-Runner and hit the road.